Derek Barnett recently saw his Eagles tenure come to an end, but he has not had to wait long to find out his next NFL home. The veteran edge rusher has been claimed off waivers by the Texans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. In a corresponding move, kicker Matt Ammendola has been waived.
Barnett was waived last Friday, leaving him subject to the wire on Monday. If he had cleared, he would have become a free agent and been able to choose his next destination. Instead, the Texans have elected to claim him and add a veteran presence to their edge contingent. Schefter notes Houston had interest in trading for Barnett in advance of the 2023 trade deadline.
The former first-rounder came up in trade talks in advance of last month’s deadline, but Barnett’s lack of playing time and production limited his value. As a pending free agent, though, his contract represented one which would have been easy to move from the Eagles’ perspective and to absorb with respect to an acquiring team. Schefter’s colleague Field Yates notes Philadelphia restructured Barnett’s deal prior to waiving him, a move which has left him with a base salary of $420K. That figure, along with some per-game roster bonuses, represents the cost the Texans will take on.
Miami was named as a team to watch with respect to adding Barnett, in large part due to the season-ending Achilles tear suffered by Jaelan Phillips. The Dolphins indeed put in a claim for Barnett, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates. With a superior record, the AFC East leaders were positioned behind Houston in the waiver priority. Now, Barnett will head to a new team for the first time in his career after an underwhelming end to his Eagles tenure.
The 27-year-old showed promise with at least five sacks in three of his first four seasons. He recorded only a pair of sacks in 2021, however, and an ACL tear suffered in Week 1 of last season left him sidelined for the first year of his extension. Barnett has been healthy this season, but he has been buried on the depth chart of a stacked Eagles defensive front. As a result, he has played just 99 defensive snaps, recording three tackles and sacks or QB pressures.
The Tennessee alum will look to carve out a more notable role in Houston, a team which has recorded only 22 sacks on the year. Starting defensive ends Jonathan Greenard and Will Anderson have combined for 10, and expectations are sky-high for the latter in particular after he was selected third overall in the 2023 draft. Still, the Texans could use experienced depth in the pass-rush department as they aim to secure an unexpected postseason berth. Playing a part in that effort could help Barnett’s free agent stock along the way.
Vic Fangio‘s consulting gig in Philly last season overlapped with Barnett’s final full tenure, though the veteran pass rusher’s Week 1 ACL tear minimizes that connection to a large degree. But the Dolphins losing Phillips wounds their pass rush. Fangio losing key edge-rushing personnel partially defined his Broncos tenure, which saw Von Miller and Bradley Chubb miss extended stretches to the point the two barely played together following the latter’s 2019 ACL tear. The Dolphins still have Chubb leading the way, and the team may well give the demoted Emmanuel Ogbah — who is attached to a four-year, $65.4MM extension that runs through 2025 — more time in the wake of Phillips’ injury.